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A new Mitt Romney ad is accusing President Obama of endangering the religious freedom in the nation. The video invokes Pope John Paul II and criticizes that Obama is forcing religious institutions to act against their beliefs because of his contraception coverage rule.
Romney’s ad is not the first or the last time Barack Obama will be accused of threatening religious freedom in the United States, many have already expressed their rejection for Obama’s health-care reform claiming it violates freedom of conscience.
Kathleen Parker, Washington Post opinion columnist, explained that Obama’s health-care reform was forcing the Catholic institutions to pay for an insurance that would cover abortive drugs, which is clearly against the Catholic Church fundamental beliefs.
In this new reform Catholic churches and their direct employees are exempt from the rule, but other Catholic-sponsored entities, among which we can find schools and hospitals that employ non-Catholics are non-exempt from the rule. So they are forced to complain or to pay fines in order to avoid the rule that is against their faith.
Timothy Dolan, Wall Street Journal Opinion columnist, said “Religious freedom is the lifeblood of the American people, the cornerstone of American government.” Dolan quotes many of the nation’s founding fathers defending freedom of conscience; he wrote that George Washington declared: “The conscientious scruples of all men should be treated with great delicacy and tenderness; and it is my wish and desire, that the laws may always be extensively accommodated to them,” and added that James Madison also said that “conscience is the most sacred of all property.”
What Dolan criticizes more is the fact that Obama’s administration proposed a religious employer exemption, but this is very narrow because it only applies to religious organizations that mostly serve people of their own religion. Dolan says the Obama administrations has refused to exempt other religious institutions like schools, charities or hospitals, from this rule, which mandates the employers to purchase contraception methods.
Some critics also think the Catholic Church is exaggerating, the L.A. Times editorial states: “Is religious freedom suddenly under attack in America? That’s what the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops and some non-Catholic allies would have you believe. But reports of the demise of this fundamental liberty are greatly exaggerated.”
But the Romney ad has taken advantage of all the criticism Obama has received, a narrator in the video says, “Who shares your values? President Obama used his healthcare plan to declare war on religion,” and adds that “Mitt Romney believes that’s wrong.”
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